Adopting digital culture in the organization is not only about the integration of new technologies, processes, and innovations. It also changes the corporate culture of the business entity, introduces new objectives, values, and generates a new vision for the future.
This new type of organizational culture is motivated by emerging technologies, constantly evolving customer behaviors, demands, and criteria, new business concepts, contemporary tendencies, and state-of-the-art products and services. Consequently, it brings new business opportunities, benefits for growth, and a possibility for gaining a valuable competitive edge.
In the hospitality industry, having a competitive advantage is crucial when it comes to sustainable growth and continuous development. Gaining new customers, retaining the value of existing ones, optimizing tasks, lowering costs, earning profit, differentiating, and providing high-quality products and services are only some of the essential factors which depend on the company's competitive edge.
However, adopting a digital culture in the hospitality business entities brings along a great variety of changes, both operational, strategical, and cultural. As a result, it can fully transform every travel operator, tourist agency, hotel, restaurant, bar, and any other type of hospitality business model.
But what are those changes? How exactly the businesses modify their culture, strategy, and operations? Well, they adopt new practices, which directly have an impact on those three factors.
Being people-centered does not only mean being customer-focused but also employee-engaged.
The adoption of digital culture enables the establishment of an inbound business strategy, where our company attracts customers through customized content creation. The personalized content is specifically directed to a particular target group and is focused on the stage in their customer journey. In addition, the digital transformation brings the hospitality businesses the opportunity to provide not only tailored messages and offerings but also customized products, services, and pricing. What is more, by using data analytics, the companies gain knowledge about the most effective promotional channels through which they can reach their clients.
For example, if a hotel company gains data-driven insights that its customers use Instagram 80% of the time, and Facebook only 20%, it can adjust the social media presence according to this data. If the business didn't have an Instagram account yet, it might consider creating one and making it its main promotional channel.
When the customers see that the businesses start following the trends, which they set, the clients start feeling delighted, empowered, and listened to. As a result, the chance of converting prospects into buyers, and existing customers into loyal ones increases tremendously.
Contrary to the old business models' way of thinking, the satisfaction of the employees is crucial for the company's success and the smooth flow of its operations.
Adopting digital culture automatically enhances the level of employee satisfaction, making them more motivated, productive, and engaged. By giving them access to relevant digital tools and platforms, which to facilitate their working processes, the employees feel more flexible and empowered in making decisions, achieve work-life balance, have more opportunities for collaboration, leveraging skills and gaining new ones. And according to Cendyn, "71% of corporations believe that the Digital Transformation helps them acquire talent".
For example, having direct access to digital training platform gives freedom to the employees who work at the reception to decide when and where to take the training. Or participating in a Whatsapp group chat with all the other hotel employees makes communication easier and gives an opportunity for collaboration by exchanging experiences, skills, and building a strong team and colleague relationships.
As a result, digital culture has a beneficial impact on the professional and personal fulfillment of the workers, which translates in higher productivity, and lower employee turnover rate.
We already came to the conclusion that digital culture is closely related to relationship building. Now let's see how that happens.
Well, the adoption of new technologies allows the optimization of tasks and makes more time for building relationships between employees and customers. As a result, it has a direct impact on customer delight and satisfaction.
For example, architecting a high-quality IoT network of devices in a hotel can decrease the time employees spend on routine tasks, which lack importance from the client's point of view. By integrating clients' smartphones into the network, there is no need to "program" room key cards, as the key will already be in the mobile device itself. This not only facilitates the work of the receptionists but delights the guests by providing them with customized CX.
Another example of an IoT network is the possibility of real-time issue identification. If any problem occurs with the AC, elevator, car, electricity, or other device connected to the network, the hotel employees can act immediately to tackle the issue or track the location of a certain device.
All those examples show that with IoT, results are delivered faster, and more time is available to give personal attention and care to the hotel guests.
On the other hand, digital transformation offers excellent use of online tools in marketing. The ability to create customized content and implement an omnichannel marketing approach facilitates the relationship-building process and enhances the quality of CX in the long run. And the high-quality customer experience itself has a positive impact on the organizational reputation. How? Customers leave online reviews on several digital platforms, such as Google or Tripadvisor, sharing their own experiences with the brand. This way, when we adopt a digital culture, we enable organic, highly-visible word of mouth marketing in the digital space.
Besides, AI allows businesses to provide better customer support and aftercare services. For example, clients can receive high-quality, customer support provided by chatbots, which can answer questions instantly, without wasting time.
All of those examples lead to the conclusion that the adoption of digital culture facilitates relationship building by reducing the time for task completion, and giving opportunity for better customer understanding.
Environmental sustainability and CSR are factors that gain more and more importance to hospitality customers every year. According to "Booking" 2019 sustainable travel report,
“70% of global travelers say they would be more likely to book accommodation, knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not”. Fortunately, digital transformation can help companies to gain a competitive advantage regarding sustainability.
For example, integrating utility meters in each hotel room will allow the business entities to monitor utility usage in real-time. What is more, adopting "guest sensors" to identify if there is anyone in the hotel room, can help to reduce the usage of electricity, water, and gas when the room is empty.
Digital culture helps the companies in the hospitality sector to have more control over their carbon emissions and to plan better their CSR strategy, based on data-driven insights.
In 2019, transparency is key for every competitive organization. Not only in the sense of sharing CSR incentives, values, and basic financial information to the customers but establishing transparent governance within the company itself.
Making data analytics available and accessible to all organizational units is essential for building better strategy aligned decisions and facilitating communication across various departments.
Adopting high-quality data governance policy as part of the digital transformation helps to achieve clarity, increase the trustworthiness of data analytics and make better, strategically signed plans and decisions.
"Risk" is no longer a scary word
For digital culture companies, risk means opportunities. Data analytics make this possible, as the hospitality companies are enabled to track past events, identify trends and tendencies, evaluate performance, and derive insights from those. This way, organizations can learn from past mistakes or forecast future trends based on the collected data. As a result, any potential risks can be adequately assessed and evaluated, and the management has the opportunity to make data-driven decisions: Is the risk worth it? Should we either avoid, embrace, mitigate, or transfer it? How can we take advantage of it?
The hospitality industry is growing at a tremendous pace, and every company, which operates in the sector, should continuously evolve to keep up with the changing external environment. By adopting a digital culture, companies adopt constant change due to the constantly emerging technologies. And exactly this is the reason why such a culture is crucial for maintaining a long-term competitive advantage.